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Leviathan/Sapthuran - Leviathan/Sapthuran Split - 2006 - Battle Kommand Records

Track Listing
Sapthuran
-----------
1. As a Tale Told by the Leaves and Whispered by the Wind
2. And Autumn Sheds its Final Tear
3. The Wanderer: Blood in the Forest

Leviathan
-----------
4. Odious Convulsions (They are not worthy of his name)
5. The Fourth Blind Wound
6. Another Sip of Fear
7. Crushing the Prolapsed Oviducts of Virtue
8. Mesmerism
With Wrest-conceived and crafted cover art, this new split from Sapthuran and Leviathan is an eerie undertaking even before the first track is head. And though splits are something often characterized by hasty, poor construction, this one offers unique looks at two worthy projects’ current states of evolution.

Sapthuran’s side of this split is a surprising success. Relatively unknown before this effort and formed only in 2003, he plays a fundamentally familiar strain of USBM “for the dark ages of the past... when the harsh and unforgiving forces of nature tested the will of men. Sapthuran is the howl of the lone wolf, the watchful eye of the raven perched atop the tree, and the fell voice of the past... carried through the seas of time by the winds,” as his homepage would have us know. This style of posturing often falls flat, as none of the grandiose claims come even close to being met by the music, but Sapthuran does not, by any means, simply blow hot air. In the recent years, dozens of identically oppressive and misanthropic one-man outfits have cropped up in poor imitation of the relatively famous Wrest and Malefic, with nary a distinguishing factor between them, so some skepticism was warranted here, at first.

Sapthuran, though, does boast unique facets. Black metal is often maligned for being childishly repetitive, but throughout Sapthuran’s side of this split a number of deviations from the standard minor-key tremolo riff appear. Using subtle folk influences to establish a medieval subtext, Sapthuran crafts a truly intelligent and seductive mixture of prudent acoustic melody to accent the expected black metal ‘standard’. Compared to earlier work, this is not only a superior production effort, but also more compelling; expect good things for the future from this band, who, at least for 20 minutes, almost stole Leviathan’s thunder.

Leviathan’s offerings, for the majority of black metal fans, will be the main draw to this split. And though Wrest does not disappoint, his tracks here are not quite what many would expect. After the acclaimed success of both his full-lengths, Wrest has become a ‘household name’ for black metal fans in short order. While his success is noteworthy, some claim that his style is derivative and overrated, and that his popularity is due to name-dropping and availability rather than exceptional talent.

In 2005, Wrest released a self-titled album from the project Lurker of Chalice, and though its distribution was severely limited, the impact was large, establishing him clearly as more than simply a lucky Xerox artist for most fans. The swelling ambience and reverb, combined with his distinctively ethereal melodies (which were but rarely seen in Leviathan) took the main stage. Perhaps partially due to that success, or more likely simply because of creative reasons, Wrest has pursued that path on this split a little more. Not to say that his four songs are more akin to Lurker of Chalice than they are to Leviathan, but it is true that more evolution, depth, and subtleties are evident in this work than previous ones. Not necessarily better, but obviously more progressive. Layering subtle rhythmic themes throughout, he gives the five songs he contributes a sense of unity not often felt on split albums. More experimentation is done between discordant leads (Odious Convulsions) and melodic ones (Crushing the Prolapsed…), and he continues to develop and integrate an almost rock ‘n’ roll styled riff and bass guitar approach are also worthy of mention, as ever.

Though the snare sound is distracting and too snappy under some circumstances (largely dependant on the stereo system one uses), and though his tracks may sound crude by comparison after the more somber Sapthuran, Wrest is making a bold statement with his recent transcendent work.

Neither side is to be missed.




--Etiam 05.22.06
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: LEVIATHAN/SAPTHURAN
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Split CDLeviathan/Sapthuran
2006
Etiam6/2/2006


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